Carmen Larisa Precup, a graduate with the University of Art and Design from Cluj-Napoca (UAD), who worked for recognized brands, decided, several years ago, to use her artistic talent to create more special manicures, among her achievements including the traditional specific manicure, suitable for young women who choose to get married in a folklore fashion.
On one of the walls of her salon, Larisa has a nail painting exhibition, unique at least in Targu Mures, made during the pandemic, when beauty salons were closed.
"The salon was closed for two months, but in these two months I was able to do everything that I couldn't do in the last years of work. I did many things for myself, I painted, I drew, I created. In a way, I was delighted with this closing, the only difficulty was that I could not see my family, because I was not allowed to travel. I painted over 150 nail designs, I let my imagination run wild. There are not many clients who dare to wear the created designs on each nail, but they choose to have at least one nail painted like this, either on the index finger, on the ring finger, or on the thumb. They are very elaborate designs, the clients admire them extremely much, appreciating the talent which I made them with. Each painted nail took me between 10 minutes and an hour, because it's an elaborate job, the model didn't always come out the first time, requiring a new attempt. To my surprise, the most popular were the black models , many clients wanted them. I have a model with a newspaper print and I had a client who did it on all her nails. To make them, I used foils, stamps, drawings in acrylic technique, coloured gels, acrylic powder, small stones, tiny flowers. I used the whole range of colours I had, they are all beautiful, but it depends on the mood of the client what she chooses. When I created these models, I took into account the required colours and then, for example, on a black base I added some elements of dark-light, glossy-matte, different surfaces and this is what came out. Maybe some colleagues have made all kinds of models, but I don't like to keep them hidden in a drawer, so I put them in frames and put them on display. You keep browsing while you're getting a manicure," Carmen Larisa Precup presented her exhibition in the salon.
In addition to the painted nails exhibition, Larisa also showed us a voluminous photo album with unique manicures, taken over the years. Among them, a model made in the form of a traditional Ia, the Top Sleeve Embroidery Folk Blouse, with a tricolour pattern, caught our attention.
"I did a manicure for a client for her city hall marriage, she wanted to get married in national costume. It's a simple, but very nice model, it stayed in my heart. Simple and beautiful: it's on a white background, like the national dress, with red-yellow-blue accents with black outline, very beautiful. It's like a woven one. No one has asked me before, but if there are clients who want, I can make this pattern, it's very simple, fast and effectful," the artist claimed.
"After I graduated from college, I worked as an underwear designer at a well-known company in Cluj-Napoca and then in Targu Mures, for recognized brands. Wanting to come closer to my family, in Targu Mures, I accepted a job as a designer in this city, working for a great Romanian fashion designer, but the conditions we had to work in made me look for another job. An artist cannot stay in cold, dust, cigarette smoke, especially if he/she has certain allergies, so I decided to leave. I couldn't find any more business and I didn't want to leave the city. So I started painting pictures. But people didn't appreciate manual work, so I decided to do something so that the money would come in somehow faster. I've done manicure courses in 2010. A friend of mine had finished the course and I told myself that it's something I could do, make a living and express myself as an artist. This way I can paint, create, meet many people. Now, as a parenthesis, I would often prefer to be alone. It's quite difficult to load yourself with everyone's stories, because the customers are not always happy and nice. It is difficult for an artist's soul, because sensitivity attracts and absorbs negative energies. I would prefer to be made of iron, but I'm not," Carmen Larisa Precup tells us.
Although an art, Larisa tells us, manicure is not seen as art, although it is a beautiful thing, full of creativity.
"Many don't believe that a person with university education can do this job. I see, at least here, at the salon, the hairdressers, the beauticians, how many specialization courses they follow, there is a lot of work behind the scenes, many hours, and the techniques evolve year by year. That's why it is necessary to frequently attend courses to apply new techniques. But, fortunately, there are people who appreciate this work and even consider it an art. And it really is an art!", emphasizes Carmen Larisa Precup.
Asked what she wants for this period, she mentions that December is one of the most demanding in the field of cosmetics and body beautification, so her thoughts turn to Christmas: "Let there be snow and let's see all the family members again".
Even if the work of a manicurist is demanding, Larisa does not think she would like to do anything else, even if she could.
"I have prepared a lot, I have invested a lot in materials and technique, and besides, I feel that my soul as an artist feels that it can express itself. What I would like is a little time, so that I can draw, paint. I like abstract paintings, less portraits, maybe because some people told me I'm not a good portraitist, so I stopped trying. Anytime I could go back to underwear design, it remained my favorite field, especially because I like small things, but I wouldn't give up what I do now either, because I do it with all my passion," concluded Carmen Larisa Precup.